Case Study: Keeping an Eye on the World’s Most Powerful Filters

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As a designer and builder of some of the world’s most sensitive and critical filtration systems, IONEX implemented a way to document their supply chain.

Name of Organization: Ionex Research Corporation

Industry: Manufacturing

Location: Lafayette, CO USA

Opportunity or Challenge Encountered: IONEX Research Corporation, designers and manufacturers of high-performance process filtration and treatment equipment used in environmental and personnel working atmosphere systems, produces a range of highly sensitive equipment.

The company works with government agencies to develop and test technologies used in the treatment and destruction of chemical warfare agents and nuclear fission products. IONEX’s systems have been used to protect the environment and personnel from the harmful effects of some of the world’s most hazardous chemicals and contaminants. 

Such systems need to be carefully documented as they are built, but sharing data during the manufacturing process was difficult and time-consuming, a recent case study relates. Since items needed to be tracked and updated manually, managers found it difficult to maintain up-to-date and accurate information. IONEX was looking for ways to reduce this physical paperwork and provide a real-time way for managers to view product development.

How This Opportunity or Challenge Was Met: To establish the real-time transfer of essential manufacturing information, IONEX decided to implement an intelligent bar-coding system from AHG, Inc. The software, QR Inventory, enables bar-code data to be available to mobile devices (smartphones or tablets) on the shop floor, enabling managers to track parts and inventory, manage manufacturing process, digitize process documentation and improve internal information flow, the case study relates. The software also integrates with IONEX’s ERP system, MISys Manufacturing.

See also: From farm to cloud, in real-time

Employees use their smartphones for barcode or QR code scanning, processing inventory transactions, collecting data, conducting quality control and audits, tracking project status and accessing critical information on the shop floor in real time. The smartphones are connected to cloud software, providing users access to the up-to-the-minute information.

Benefits from This Initiative: The new system enables managers to label items with an applicable heat number, serial number, or lot number which is incorporated into a unique QR code image for the item, the case study states. The company uses these QR codes for managing inventory, as well as building the equipment electronically in real time as the physical products are fabricated. The system performs transactions on the shop floor to automatically deplete the required material quantities while simultaneously assigning the appropriate heat, lot, or serial numbers to completed parts and assemblies. “The result constructs a detailed build history of the equipment so that any piece of any assembly may be traced back to the original material,” the case study relates. “This capability is critical in helping IONEX meet strict customer and regulatory requirements.”

In addition, the data collected by QR Inventory provides a live look at production status, and most record-keeping tasks are completed quickly and in real time. “The need for physical paperwork is eliminated and everyone in the company has access to the data,” according to the case study.

(Source: AHG, Inc.)

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